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Calls for stronger Schengen governance

Category: News-General.
Posted: Friday 16 Sep 2011

The European Commission and European Parliament must have the right to veto unilateral border closures, EU Socialists and Democrats said today, as the European Commission unveiled a new proposals to reform the Schengen system.

Claude Moraes MEP, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said:

"Freedom of movement across EU countries is not a national right. It is a fundamental right guaranteed to EU citizens by the Treaties which prevails over temporary national interests. Accordingly, no national government alone can take decisions affecting that right without them first being agreed at EU level. Most importantly, as the only body representing all EU citizens, the European Parliament must be fully involved.

"EU governments are of course responsible for assessing threats to their security, but on border controls they cannot decide alone without breaching the Treaties. It is a power they chose to give up for the good of EU citizens.

"There is good news and bad news in this proposal. On the one hand the Commission has answered the irresponsible and unilateral actions of Italy and France in closing their borders at the height of the Mediterranean refugee crisis. Schengen will now be fully monitored by the Commission and legally enforced at the EU level.

"Our Group strongly supports any improvement of the Schengen agreements aimed at strengthening free movement within the EU while preserving citizens' security. In this light, the introduction of a new safeguard clause allowing for the reinstatement of passport controls can only be accepted as a last resort and on three nonnegotiable conditions: it must be for a very limited period of time; due to an urgent and serious threat for citizens; decided in agreement with both the European Commission and Parliament.

"However, new references in the proposals to serious deficiencies of a Member State in managing its own external borders are very worrying. European governments cannot expect the EU to authorise them to seal their internal borders whenever they are faced with a concentrated influx of migrants from third countries. Migration is not a national threat but a challenge which requires a common approach and solidarity at EU level.

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Posted by: Admin on Friday 16 Sep 2011

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